The New England Patriots currently have 89 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the offseason, we take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s offensive linemen.
Name: Jason King
Position: Offensive guard
Jersey number: 65
Opening day age: 24
Size: 6’4, 300 lbs.
2017 review: After going undrafted, Jason King signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent. But even though he saw regular playing time during the preseason – King played 24.6% (69 of 281) of New England’s offensive snaps –, the Purdue product failed to show enough to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Shortly after his release during roster cutdowns, however, the team brought him back via its practice squad.
King’s tenure on the Patriots’ developmental squad only lasted two weeks, though. After a short stint with the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad, he was signed to New England’s active roster in late November but did not appear in any games before his next release. King was re-signed to the team’s practice squad in early December and spent the rest of the season there – ending his rookie campaign without any regular or postseason snaps.
2018 preview: The Patriots brought King back on a futures deal following the Super Bowl, but let him go again after the draft. Having spent a week on the open market, the team re-signed the offensive lineman yet again on a one-year contract that will hit its salary cap with $481,000. But while he is one of the cheapest players on the roster and brings some experience to the table, he again has to be considered a long-shot to make the team.
After all, King has not been able to establish himself as a regular presence on the Patriots’ roster or practice squad in the past and also faces plenty of competition for one of the depth spots. With first-round rookie Isaiah Wynn a lock to make the 53-man roster behind starters Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason, the sophomore would have to beat out the likes of Ted Karras, James Ferentz, Luke Bowanko, and Brian Schwenke.
While none of them is safe to make the team, Karras and Ferentz in particular have seen more reps with the second-team offensive line this training camp. King, meanwhile, has been limited as of late and could further fall behind his competition if he is unable to establish his presence during preseason. All in all, it therefore seems that the practice squad is once more the best case scenario for him.